Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easy Homemade Pie Crust - Now with 50% Less D'oh!

I've made a few pie video recipes on this blog over the years, but every single time I've used either a frozen shell, or ready to use sheets of dough. Some of you may have been thinking that I didn't know to make it from scratch, or was afraid to show you my secret recipe.

Well, neither is true. I make a damn nice piecrust, but I just choose not to. And, there are really no secret pie dough recipes. The formula is pretty standard; flour, fat, and water combined with the same technique by virtually every chef. You will see a splash of vinegar added to the ice water, which is suppose to reduce gluten formation and help keep the crust tender and flaky – but that's about as much of a secret as you're going to get.

This version is an all butter recipe (my personal favorite), and is made using a food processor, which makes the always critical "cutting" the butter into the flour step very simple. By the way, you can make a double batch of this, and freeze the individually wrapped dough for future pie-related adventures. If you'd like the apple pie filling recipe, you can find that here.

Below the recipe, I've included my mother Pauline's Key Lime Pie video, where she demonstrates how to properly "crimp" the dough edges to get that classic scalloped crust effect. I could have showed you in my video, but she has much nicer nails. Enjoy!




Ingredients: (makes enough dough for one 9 or 10 inch double crust pie)
12 ounces flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 sticks (1 cup) ice cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoon ice water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar


Learn How to Crimp Pie Crust from My Mom!

93 comments:

Melmo said...

wow this looks so great. I never tried it before.

Hania said...

I will try both recipies! the way your mum says "Enjoy!" just.. bought my heart.
Best (food)wishes,
Hania

Jack said...

Hey John,

Any advice on making the dough without a food processor? I'm a student and have a limited kitchen.

I'm huge fan! Thanks for all the great recipes!

-Jack

Jack said...

Hey John,

Any advice on making the dough without a food processor? I'm a student and have a limited kitchen.

I'm huge fan! Thanks for all the great recipes!

-Jack

Chef John said...

you dont need a food processor... watch the other video of my mom and you'll see how.

candice said...

that was ohhh... soooo... beautiful and lovely...

your mom's hands I mean ! only thing missing is a huge diamond ring !

Jack Parker said...

I've heard of Key Lime Pie but I never knew what went in it. I love making pies. (The first pie I ever made, apple, won a blue ribbon at our state fair, which, coincidentally, sells Key Lime Pie on a Stick! Oddly enough, I don't care for pie myself so I always give them away.

My boss' mother invited me to their home for Easter and I was at a loss as to what to bring but now I know it has to be your mom's Key Lime Pie! I'll have a trial run before Easter and bring it to work to see how it goes over and will report back.

P.S. I had to know what the culinary term was for pricking the pie crust with a fork so I checked several sites with lists of culinary terms. They all called it pricking.

Rita said...

i always make my own dough, but had never thought of adding vinegar in it. i have to try this one.

Flour said...

That crust looks perfect! Whenever I do a double crust, the bottom layer usually comes out soggy/undercooked. Any idea what I'm doing wrong? Thank you in advance! I will try this recipe.

Chef John said...

sounds like it could be undercooked? Or maybe not enough fat in the flour? Not sure, it has to cook for quite a while for the bottom to get cooked also.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought for Flour. I always bake my pies on the bottom rack and have no problem with sogginess. I usually bake it at 375 for 15 minutes and then finish at 350.
Just sayin'
jackie

Flour said...

Thanks Chef John.
Jackie, thank you too for the tips! I appreciate it.

christopher andrew culley said...

CJ that pie looks amazing. Do you use the standard metal blade in your processor? Also where did you that pie dish? I want one! Thanks and keep being awesome.

Chef John said...

yes, regular blade, and no idea where that dish came from!

john said...

Vinegar is a new trick. I thought I was clever when I picked up the add clear alcohol (e.g. Vodka) for part of the water, I'm sure you've seen Alton Brown's trick for this, to reduce gluten formation. Wonder which is better, my guess is vinegar, or you would have done the other way!

Jack Parker said...

Chef, I made your mom's key lime pie and it lasted a whole minute-and-a-half before I collected the empty pie pan. (For pies only, I love using glass pans.) Seriously. 1 1/2 minutes.

Your mom's tip about microwaving the limes for 10 seconds and then rolling them really did give twice the juice, too!

QUESTION: I know key limes have a stronger flavor, so, I was wondering... Do you think adding a bit of lime zest would add to the intensity of the lime flavor?

Chef John said...

yes, zest is always a good idea.

Joe LaGreca said...

You say leave the dough in the fridge for minimum of 30 minutes, but what is the maximum time you can leave it in there before using it?

Chef John said...

a few days, or freeze.

Anonymous said...

By accident yesterday I ended up with pie crust that had been left on the counter for an hour or so. My SO started making a quiche and got distracted so when I wandered into the kitchen about an hour later, I found half rolled pie dough on the counter and, because of the time and the fact I wanted to eat, decided to finish the job without rechilling the dough.

I blind baked the shell and then made the quiche, half expecting to be a disaster.

It turned out to be the flakiest and tenderest dough I've ever had.

So, your mom may be right -- there may be no need to rest the dough in the fridge at all.

Chef John said...

not so fast! while it wasn't in the refrig, it was still resting. So still say it needs to rest so the flour can absorb some of the moisture.

Steve (former Anonymous) said...

Good point regarding the resting, I obviously didn't take that into account.

I conflated that with Alton Brown's admonitions to keep the dough chilled, which I obviously didn't.

Joe LaGreca said...

Chef John,

I all my ingredients ready to go, and figured I would watch the video one more time just before making the crust. I noticed your printed recipe just calls for butter, while your video calls for unsalted butter. Which is it?

My first crust might be a bit salty, because I added salt to the flower, as well as used salted butter.

My second crust might be a bit closer to what you wanted, as I used salted butter, but did not add salt to the flour.

Just wanted to point this inconsistency out so you can correct your printed recipe.

Thanks again for the great website!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was Christopher Kimball from
Cooks Illustrated who came up with the vodka pie crust.
Anyway, I tried it and liked it but it definitely needs to be chilled or it's way too soft to roll (I speak from experience).
For my other piecrust (without vodka), I find that chilling makes it too hard to roll.
Jackie

Joe LaGreca said...

I just made 3 pies for easter using this recipe. It was hard to roll out after being in the refridgerator. I tried leaving it out for a bit to soften up, but was still hard to roll out, definitely not like in Chef John's video. Maybe i needed more liquid?

Anonymous said...

i loved the lime pie... turned out great.

many thanks

Anonymous said...

chef it came out great, specially I like the food processor. I haven't seen anybody using it in any other video, really made the job easy. I was not having vineger so made it without one, can't resist the temptation.

Tim

Matt said...

Chef John

I have a question! I noticed that the key lime pie was pre-baked but that you didn't use ceramic beans to hold down the dough. I don't have beans so I tried this and the sides of the pie fall down! How do you do it?! Thanks!!

Chef John said...

Hard to say without watching you. If you do it like the vid it should work. Not really sure.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John! Please teach us how to make Quiche :)

ButterYum said...

The term you couldn't think of is called "docking" the dough.

:)
ButterYum

Anonymous said...

hi chef john, i saw your recipe and i was wondering, many recipes for double crust call for as little as 4 tablespoons of water, while yours calls for 7, including another tablespoon of water. the other recipes have the same proportions of flour, salt, and butter. how much water should i use?

Anonymous said...

Hi chef john its my first time to see your videos, and i'm impress with your recipes an dall based from the viewers and ofcpurse your cooking/baking,, anyhoo im just wondering what is the egg wash you use cus i'm kind of confused on what to use, is it egg whites with milk? or just milk? or milk with egg whites? or egg yolk with milk :)

Chef John said...

I usually just use a beaten egg, but they all work!

Violetta said...

Chef John, you have no idea how many times I've been staring at your perfect looking pie crust in despair and envy. I've tried making the dough from scratch twice. The first time the bottom was uncooked and the crust was hard. So the next time I increased the heat and the baking time. Much better, bottom was a little undercooked, top could be more tender and flaky.

At what temp and how long do you bake your pies for. And do you use a foil cover to prevent the edges from burning? Thanks!

Cory said...

Hi Chef John,
I used your all-butter crust to make strawberry pie so I baked the crust first. I docked the crust and it sunk in to the pan. Did I need an egg-wash, would that firm it up or do I need to do something else. I read somewhere that shortening bakes a stiffer crust. The other thing was that I used a pretty large pan and the dough didn't go out over the lip much at all when I crimped it.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Tim

Chef John said...

It was probably the larger pan. Try in a standard size next time. :-)

Anonymous said...

Will this pie dough work for any filling e.g chicken and much/meat

thanks

Isobel said...

Chef John, you didn't mention the oven temp and baking time>

My bottom crust turned out soggy and undercooked. Please help!

Chef John said...

here u go, that was just a dough recipe... http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/11/classic-american-apple-pie-warning-this.html

Benson said...

Can I use rice vinegar instead of appple cider vinegar? Can I use a blender instead of a food processor?
Thanks

Amanda said...

Hi!

My pie came out soggy in the end. It still tasted delicious though. How do you know if the pie is completely down? Any tips?

Amanda

Anonymous said...

This looks awesome! I'm going to try both!! Can I plan ahead and freeze the dough? If so, how should I do it? (Fold it? Roll it?)
Thanks for an awesome site!!
Nicole

Chef John said...

freeze in disc shaped pieces!

Anonymous said...

This is for the "without a food processor". My nana made pies for local restaurants for many many years in Maine and she used her hands to mix the shortening and flour and she had the BEST pie crusts ever - flaky, melt in your mouth goodness. I do the same as nana and although I've yet to achieve her perfection - mine are very flaky and good. I use cooking disposable gloves.

Arita Ricardez said...

Hi Chef John :) I love your recipes and been meaning to try this pie crust. One question tough, what is the equivalents in grams (or ounces) for the 2 sticks of butter?
I've been googling trying to find this info, but I've found different measures, from 190 grams to 250 grams.
Could you please clarify? Thank you!

Chef John said...

2 sticks = 8 oz X 28.35 = 226.8 grams

Anonymous said...

Do I have to go out and buy Cider vinegar? I have basalmic and red wine vinegar. Thanks John.

Chef John said...

red wine is okay!

brokeniris said...

umm chef can i leave out the cider vinegar?

Chef John said...

yes, just add water

Vivian said...

I actually find it much easier to handle and make using a pastry blender to mix the flour and i usually substitute the butter with shortening and mix the water vinegar mixture with a fork mainly because i don't HAVE a food processor and when I used my friends it was a total

Chris K. said...

Last night I baked a strawberry rhubarb pie using this recipe for the crust. It came out perfectly, and I now have a new go-to recipe for pie crust. Thanks Chef!

Anonymous said...

Hi, decided I'd try your recipe but I have a quick question... I can't seem to find the temperature (Fahrenheit) you're suppose to bake it in. Do you mind telling me?

Thanks!

Chef John said...

usually 375

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't have cider vinegar right now. Can I use white wine vinegar or rice wine?

seoul sister said...

What uh... cup size is your food processor?

I'm thinking about buying my first food processor to try out your recipes for double apple pie crust, quiche, ice cream etc but am not sure what size to get.

Because Seoul is a cramped, overpopulated urban city of 15 million and I chop most of my vegetables by knife, I don't have a lot of counterspace. But I don't want the food processor to be too small for
making dough for double pie crusts (10 inch pie pan), blending for quiche (and maybe try out ice cream or seafood and cheese to be minced into tortellini filling)..

- what cup size should I get?
- is there a particular brand (kitchen aid or cuisinart of phillips or other brand) that you recommend?

seoul sister said...

i just posted asking your food processor's cup size~
is it better to go with a stand mixer instesd of a food processor?

I already have a 1.5 cup mini-blender for making sauces (maybe it can handle quiche filling) so mainly for the apple pie double crust.. is it better to go with the fp or with a kitchen aid stand mixer with dough hook?

Chef John said...

Sorry, traveling, so can't look at cup size of fp. It's just your standard home size. It's better all purpose than mixer.

seoul sister said...

thanks for answering!
i guess i'll just try making pie dough with my mini blender before leaping into fp investment (in terms of treasured kitchen counter space and money)..

Genise said...

This was the best pie crust I ever made. It was good and flaky.

Sascha Korshunov said...

Wow, funny story time. I came here looking for tips on how to make pastry dough without a food processor. Saw that cool looking pastry cutter tool. I had one, too.

Had. Past tense. I threw it away during spring cleaning. Why? I didn't know what it was; I thought it was a really BAD potato masher and I had a better potato masher, so I didn't need it.

Darn. :(

jehrico esperon said...

Chef..Can I live the mixture in 10 minutes ..??
Because we have an practicum in 1 hour only ^_^

jho.tanuwidjaya said...

Hello Chef, just chiming in on how AMAZING this crust is. I sent my sister your recipe and all she modify is just adding 2 tbsp of sugar (for sweetness, my bro in law love his stuff super sweet) and it's the flakiest crust I've ever eaten. Very, very sinful.

Being all-butter, it's quite hard to make in our tropical climate with high humidity and temperature but it was so worth it (for our tastebuds). Thanks :)

Chef John said...

Jehrico, Sorry, I don't understand.

Jewely said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jewely said...

Hello Chef John! Happy Easter! I LOVE your Food Wishes Blogs! I am learning lots! Woohoo!

Okay, I have a question regarding your butter pastry recipes... You have TWO! So, which one do I choose, 1 cup of butter or 1/2 cup of butter with slightly less flour as per the Hand Pies video... I just wanted to check-in with you to make sure this wasn't (oh, oh) an error...

Cheers, Jewels

Jewely said...

Okay, I borrowed my mom's food processor ( way easier than using a pastry blender! ) and made several batches ( for the freezer ) of the pastry recipe with 1 cup of butter as per the recipe above the posts... Yes, very, very good. I am very happy with the results. Thanks Chef John.

Jewels

Allison McKeen said...

Your all-butter crust recipe has been my go-to for some time, but I'm planning on experimenting with lard. Would you use the same amount of lard as butter by weight? Or would it be different since butter contains water and lard doesn't?

Chef John said...

Sorry, haven't baked with lard much, so not sure!

Unknown said...

Chef John, you are my (cooking) hero! I am a pretty darned good cook myself but I've had no luck at all with pie crusts. Until this one, that is! Mille grazie! You are on my mind frequently, especially when I bake your fabulous buttermilk biscuits for my man (a Georgia boy who just raves about my/your biscuits and says I'm now an honorary southern girl)!.

Kavi Khiytani said...

Hi chef John! U are a magician when it comes to food! I've watched all your episodes and you are my cooking/baking guru!

Oh and u think the term u r looking for is "perforating" as an alternative to "pricking".

<3

Kavi

Silvia said...

In the recipe of the pumpkin pie, do you put the pie crust in oven raw (as for the apple pie) or do you pre-cook it ( like the lime pie)? Do i need to pierce it? Do you put anything on the bottom of the tray so that the pie crust don't get stuck?

Chef John said...

Many like to pre-cook, but I don't bother for the pumpkin pie!

Leah Marks said...

Hi Chef John!
Thank you so much... You saved Thanksgiving!!! I was put in charge of dessert, having never made a pie in my life! A YouTube search lead me to your blog, and your quick but thorough instructions led me to absolute success. With your instructions for pie crust and apple pie filling, I made the best dessert of the night! It even bested the creme brûlée my sous-chef cousin made... Amazing! The ultimate claim to fame is that my mom ate it and also loved it. She's a devout anti-pie enthusiast and hates all things "pie." That's no longer true. She loved it!!! I had to mix the crust by hand, since my NutriBullet couldn't handle the task, but i found that to be a more enjoyable experience overall. I greatly appreciate how you just cut to the chase. Your blog, the content, and your style of teaching is so exceptional, that I will be a frequent visitor for the rest of my life... I can't thank you enough!!!

Either way... Thank you, and happy Thanksgiving!

Leah

Malekah Roberts said...

And Her hands are beautiful beautiful.

Ashley Parkinson said...

Could you please tell me what temp and for how long you'd pre-bake this crust for the pre-baked crust type pies?

Thank you SO much!

Chef John said...

Sorry, not sure! Haven't done one of those in a long time. I think it depends on the pie!

elniñoyuntero said...

Sorry Chef, I am in the countryside in Finland and no chance to get pastry flour for your mothers Key Lime Pie. Is there too much difference at the end if I use normal flour ?
We are not going to forget your mother so beautiful hands...

Chef John said...

Yes it works!

Alec Alarilla said...

What is the height and size of your pie pan? And where can i get the deep dish pie pan for the creamy bacon quiche Lorraine recipe? what is the size of the deep dish pie pan?

Chef John said...

I think it's 9 x 2!

Lemon Chiffon Cake said...

In pricking the pie crust before baking the pie crust for 10 mins., can you use this same method instead of "blind baking" when you put a parchment/wax paper on the crust and weighing the dough down with beans or pie weights?

I cannot help notice your mom's hands. For a mom, she has very pretty hands. Make sure you tell your mom. She can do a video on how she keeps her hands soft.

K said...

I have a question! If you have to blind bake a crust or use the docking method, how do you put a second layer of dough at the top and finish with the crimping?

Chef John said...

Sorry, but blind baking and docking are for single crust pies!

Bee said...

12 ounces flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
Isn't 12oz 1 1/2 cups?

Chef John said...

A cup is 8 ounce by volume, not weight! A cup of flour weighs about 4.5 ounces.

Gail Smith said...

Hi Chef John, Can you confirm the cooking temperature and time for the pie please. Thank You!!

Chef John said...

This was just a video for making the dough. Times and temperatures depend on what are you making. So if you check out one of our pie recipes, It will have the time to temperatures there. Enjoy!

Gail Smith said...

I followed the instructions for the pastry and made the most AMAZING Beef and Mushroom pie! Wow! Thank you so much!!!!

Richard said...

Just an observation for you :) Real Key Lime Pie is yellow, not green. I'm sure it tastes delicious, but I live in Miami and every Key Lime Pie I have ever eaten is yellow. Matter of fact, they will tell you that if it is green, it's fake. How funny!

Bob Frazier said...

While it's usually just you and I in the kitchen, John, it was nice having your mom over today to show how to make pie crusts. Mine is a few thousand miles away.

Nice crimping Pauline!

Thanks for the help. I'll get the dishes cleaned up - you two relax.